How to Use Zoom: The 13 Best Tips for Successful Video Conferencing

Working from home? Get the most out of virtual meetings!

Zoom video calls are an important part of many people's working habits. The Zoom video service is hugely useful for talking with remote co-workers, arranging meetings, and working collaboratively. It's also very popular among friends who want to meet up online and catch up on what's new. 

It's important to know how to Zoom and how to use Zoom meeting rooms effectively. We've researched some of the best tips for how to perform a successful video conferencing session, whether you're doing it for business or pleasure.

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Add a Virtual Background

Adding a virtual background to Zoom

Frequently have a messy home office and not keen to tidy it up? The Virtual Background feature can save you the hassle. Providing your PC is powerful enough or you have a green screen behind you, it can add anything you want to the background of your video call, from a space age landscape to a pleasant beach location. It's simple to set up, providing you know where to look.

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Learn Zoom Keyboard Shortcuts

Zoom keyboard shortcuts highlighted

Zoom offers multiple different keyboard shortcuts which you can easily tweak to make things more convenient. Check out the options under Settings > Keyboard Shortcuts. It's useful to set up a key for muting or unmuting your mic, as well as being able to join a meeting quickly with a keyboard shortcut, or even schedule meetings via a shortcut. 

The Zoom website has a full list of default shortcut keys.

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Switch to an Audio Only Call

A tablet on a desk displaying a video conference call

Luis Alvarez, Getty Images 

Sometimes, life might be a little too crazy to have video on while you work, or you might want to cut back on bandwidth and solely have an audio call for a bit. To always have video off as default when you first join a meeting, go to Settings > Video > Turn off video when joining a meeting. You can choose to switch video back on once you're in the meeting. It's perfect for when you need to dive into a quick call. 

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Practice Good Sound Etiquette

A man sitting on a sofa with headphones in and looking at a laptop

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Good meeting etiquette is important. Not everyone in your meeting wants to hear every tiny detail of your home life. Particularly if your pets, children, or other loved ones are prone to walking in during meetings, mute your mic when you're not talking. In large meetings, it's a huge help so that attendees aren't overwhelmed by background noise. If possible, use headphones instead of your computer's speakers. The audio quality will be better for both you and the other people within the meeting. 

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Touch up Your Appearance

Zoom app with Touch up my appearance displayed

Like other camera-based apps, Zoom is able to touch up your appearance a little, making your image look a bit softer and generally a little better. Go to Settings > Video > Touch up my appearance for a quick boost. Your face will look softer and it makes a subtle but important difference. It's not a miracle worker though so make sure you still look reasonably well presented!

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Record Your Call

Zoom app with recording settings highlighted

If you want to review your meeting or share the call with those who missed it, you can record your Zoom web conferencing chats very easily. If you have a basic free subscription to Zoom, you can choose to store the video file locally or, alternatively, if you're a paid member, you can save it to Zoom cloud storage. All the options are in Settings > Recording, and it doesn't take too long to set up.

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Create Recurring Meetings

Zoom app with scheduled meetings settings displayed

Have regular weekly meetings with work? Or monthly catch up with friends? You can easily set meetings up to recur by clicking Schedule then selecting the box next to Recurring meeting. It's perfect for when you want to regularly arrange meetings but you don't want the hassle of setting them up every time. 

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Set Reminders

Zoom General Settings display

Worried you'll forget your many meetings? Go to Settings > General and you can click on a reminder there so that you'll always receive notifications before your meeting is about to start. Set it to 5-10 minutes so that you have plenty of time to be ready to go. 

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Share Your Screen When Needed

Zoom main display with Share Screen highlighted

Whether you're gaining advice from a work colleague or you want to share something cool with a friend, it's useful to know how to share your screen. Click the Share Screen button on the Zoom app. If you're viewing someone else's shared screen, you can easily annotate it by clicking View Option and Annotate

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Use a Pro Account

A conference room with a video conference call on the wall monitor

Ariel Skelley, Getty Images 

A Zoom free account is very useful but a Pro account means you can do things like co-host meetings with others, create attendee lists after meetings, or even set up forms to learn more about the attendees beforehand. If you need more features, it's worth getting a Pro account, even for a little while. To upgrade click your Profile icon and then select Upgrade to Pro.

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Learn to Post Zoom Meeting Links to Slack

An office conference room with a video conference call on a screen on the wall

Luis Alvarez, Getty Images 

One paid Zoom account bonus is that you can post Zoom meeting links to Slack automatically. In business scenarios, many of us use both Slack and Zoom to communicate so being able to join the two together is very useful. Having a Pro account means you have access to the Zoom API so you can use tools like Zapier's Zap automation to get notifications for Zoom straight to your Slack channel.

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Secure Your Meeting With a Password

Zoom app with Passworded meeting displayed

It's important to be secure with most meetings. For any kind of private meeting, make sure you switch on password protection. When you're creating a new meeting, go to your Personal Meeting ID Settings and click Require meeting password to ensure that no one can access your meeting unless you want them to.

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Use Focus Mode

The participant view with Zoom's Focus Mode active


Focus Mode is a low-distraction option for Zoom that aims to help meeting participants stay on task. When it's active, hosts and co-hosts can still see everyone's screen. However, participants can only see screens for themselves, hosts, co-hosts, and anyone the leaders choose to "spotlight."

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